Tulsa officials want more funding for Route 66 marketing

At least one Tulsa city council member wants to find ways to generate more money so the city can spend more on Route 66 marketing efforts, and another official has suggested a specialty license plate.

Public Radio Tulsa reports City Councilor Jeannie Cue, who represents Tulsa’s southwest side, said too many travelers on Interstate 44 are unaware of Tulsa’s attractions:

“And I think we need to find a permanent source to promote Route 66 so these people will spend the night and bring their tax dollars here, visit the Gilcrease, visit our zoo, visit Philbrook,” Cue said. […]
“I think we need to look at all sources. Nothing that taxed our citizens here, but what we can do to bring some revenue in,” Cue said.

Karen Keith, a Tulsa County commissioner, said “the time is now” to seriously consider a Route 66 vanity plate to raise money for such efforts. Cue and Keith both are members of the Tulsa Route 66 Commission.

Keith’s idea has merit. The Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona’s specialty license plate program generated more than $231,000 in its first year in 2019. That prompted the nonprofit to move away from being a membership-based organization, and it already has awarded two grants for preservation.

The revenue stream from the Arizona plates didn’t happen overnight. It required a $32,000 fee upfront, a years-long approval process and other requirements.

What the requirements are in Oklahoma, I don’t know. But I’m certain Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who also leads the state’s tourism department and is a big proponent of Route 66, would be happy to grease the skids of such an effort.

(Image of one of the Route 66 gateways in Tulsa by Dennis Whitaker)

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